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Bondgate car park, Bishop Auckland

We held a consultation on the major extension of the car parking facilities at North Bondgate, Bishop Auckland.

How we consulted

We consulted on the plans to restore the former King James Lower School into an Enterprise Centre by:

  • A display of the outline plans for the conversion of the former King James Lower School, Bishop Auckland was held at Bishop Auckland Town Hall from Tuesday 19th to Thursday 21st May.
  • Extensive consultation with neighbours surrounding the site including the neighbouring King James Academy and Cricket Club along with other key stakeholders from the town such as the Civic Society, Town Council and the Auckland Castle Trust.
  • Discussions with Historic England and the Civic Trust regional office in Newcastle.


The trustees of the King James Foundation Trust, Durham County Council and the South Durham Enterprise Agency are working together and have outline plans for a scheme to bring the buildings back into use.

Durham County Council, King James Foundation Trust and the South Durham Enterprise Agency (SDEA) are working in partnership to seek Heritage Lottery funding to restore the Grade II listed building. The former school is currently in extremely poor condition since being seriously damaged by fire in 2007. The proposal aims to turn the building into an enterprise centre which will not only act as a base for new and established local businesses but also offer in-house help to make sure they can thrive.

The planned enterprise centre will offer support and advice services for start-up businesses, be used to deliver entrepreneurial education and training programmes, and host networking events. As well as being located close to the town centre, the new offices will also provide spaces specifically designed to encourage arts, crafts and food producers and feature shared facilities to reduce costs for the businesses based there.

What you said

The public consultation held between the 19th and 21st May recorded 73 attendees with whom the team engaged and a further 5 who left comments whilst the display was not manned. Of those 73 there were 33 who left written comments. The comments were overwhelmingly positive. Some comments are shown below:

"Good to see the plans, hope it can work in partnership with the pod in the market place"

"Please keep old school. A lot of history there and it's our heritage."

"Good idea to restore it as it's a shame to lose a historical building."

 "We support the plans un-reservedly. We need to support and encourage new business to the area. It will hopefully be a lovely space in which to work."

"I think the proposal will offer a great incentive to create new business and bring jobs to Bishop Auckland."

"Brilliant idea to restore the building and good for the towns' locals and businesses."

"Living opposite the building I'm/we are so pleased with the future plans for the Laurel Building, hopefully you will get the funding to improve and go ahead with this work".

"As a previous student the idea of restoring it is fantastic. Had great memories and can't wait to see it refurbished and used again."

What Happens Next?

The Heritage Lottery funding is a 2 stage application process. The stage 1 application was submitted on 18th June with an announcement on the outcome in early September. If successful further consultation will be undertaken during the preparation of a planning application and the development of  the Stage 2 application with a view to submission in summer 2016.

The closing date for comments was Friday 19 June 2015.

Contact us
Bondgate car park consultation
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